Property consultants are often sought out by property investors searching who need information before making an investment. With the guidance of property consultants, investors can find a property within a short space of time which meets all of their investment requirements.
Before we get to what it takes to be a good property consultant, we should first point out that the role of a consultant and an estate agent are two completely different things.
The biggest distinction between the two is that the consultant works on behalf of the client who is looking to invest in a property, not the sellers. This is why investors will often choose to utilise the expertise, contacts and local knowledge that a property consultant has culminated over many years in the field.
So, what exactly does it take to be a good property consultant?
Local Market knowledge
Property markets can significantly vary from region to region, this can usually be distinguished by house prices, employment rates, demand, local amenities, landmarks, and so much more. This is why a good property consultant is crucial for any investor when building and/or diversifying their property portfolio in uncharted territories.
Generally speaking, property consultants will operate and specialise within a specific geographic area. While others might have a regional or national presence all across the UK – we will get this shortly. Whichever way they are distributed, professionals choosing a rapidly growing property investment hotbed such as Liverpool as their base need to be able to demonstrate unrivalled local knowledge. There also needs to be a key awareness and understanding of the property market in the surrounding areas of the thriving city of Liverpool.
Such knowledge can be easily assessed by you, the buyer, by making some relatively straightforward enquiries about the region and where the emerging markets have been hiding. Staying with the example of Liverpool, if the property consultant’s insight appears hazy or perhaps non-existent, it would be sensible to show them the door. In a report from Halifax, Bootle was amongst the top 10 places with the strongest property price increases since 2019—boasting over a 6% rise in the run up to 2020.
Broad Market Knowledge
As touched upon before, property consultants can either operate in a specific region or nationally. Regardless of where they specialise, a good property consultant should always have an understanding of the wider landscape UK property market. This is because the property market is constantly adapting and changing by accordance to local/national economies and trends in demand which will also have a knock-on effect to other local markets.
The most relevant case of this is in London, where a 20-year long trajectory of exponential price growth had grabbed all the headlines for the last two decades. However, in the years leading up to and as a direct consequence of Covid-19, it is abundantly clear that London’s property market is yesterday’s news. This is why thousands of investors and homeowners have jumped ship and fled further afield to the North-West which is scooping up the losses of the capital.
It is also important for property consultants to have an understanding of the UK property in order to foresee the future. As all investors will know, the key to success is to be ahead of the game, and property consultants should operate with this at the forefront of their focus. Recognising changes across the UK market can help to identify trends and potential emerging markets to capitalise on. Following the coronavirus outbreak, estate agents based in the surrounding regions of London have been swept with enquiries as tenants/homeowners ponder life outside of the fallen giant. As the prospect of a second lockdown beckons and physical office premises become inhospitable for thousands of workers, many have adapted to working from home. This has caused a shift in demand as workers reassess their housing needs and consider options less central with more space and perhaps a patch of grass at the back. The point is that the right property consultant needs to know the UK property market inside and out to best place themselves in your shoes and share your vision, while always remaining objective.
When choosing a property consultant, it’s important they have the best resources and contacts at hand to help you make the most informed decisions. Investors all have different preferences in relation to which investment path best suits their individual requirements. Property investors on the market for lucrative capital gains may branch out into off-plan property development and in order to do this, they will need vast market-knowledge only a consultant can offer.
If they have a specific development in mind, then the consultant must have the ability to conduct extensive research on the site to help the client make the most informed decision. Other investors may be drawn to alternative markets such as short-term and corporate lets, purpose-built student accommodation, or even social housing – all of which will require specialised market insight and knowledge. Remember- we are all human and so even the finest consultants will not have expertise covering all bases. With that in mind, property consultants need to have expertise in undertaking due diligence into the areas they do not know. For if they do not possess a key understanding of a particular development or market, how can they advise the client on the most suitable investment path for them?
When formulating an investment plan, the property consultant needs to consider your desired yield, tenant profile, possible growth, and exit strategy into the deal. To achieve all of this, the property consultant should utilise their connections within the industry. Even when sourcing the property, insider knowledge comes in handy because the easiest way to progress with the search is networking. In order to do that, the consultant will need to work closely with local estate agents and developers to maximise the smoothness and minimise the stressfulness of the process.
Problem Solver, not a Problem Seller
The next consideration you must make when deciding upon a property consultant, is how much you believe they are here to help you. It goes without saying that when deciding on a potentially life-changing investment, the people you call for help are on your side and not just there to make to a quick buck. Speaking of ‘research skills’ only moments ago, in this instance this is where you must conduct your own due diligence to ensure you’re dealing with a problem solver, not a problem seller!
Often, a Google-search of the selected individual or company will provide a long band of reviews for you to scan through and assess whether that is the best person/company to move forward with. A genuine [and moral] property consultant will not try and push an investment path that doesn’t meet your specific needs and requirements. As mentioned before, the property consultant needs to be considering your desired yield, tenant profile, possible growth, and exit strategy into the deal on top of the location and type of dwelling.
Reachable through a variety of channels
Finding the right investment for you can often take hours upon hours of assessing and reassessing before making the final decision. We can think of thousands of different reasons why it is absolutely paramount that no rock is left unturned when making such an important decision and we’re sure you can too. Investors should want any and every enquiry answered to at all hours of the day, which is why the ideal property consultant needs to be accessible through a range of different channels. This can be via phone call, message, Email, and WhatsApp.
Good financial acumen
The final requirement we believe it takes to be a good property consultant is one who has the financial knowhow to be able to breakdown investments if necessary. Some of the key calculations that a consultant might need to draw up for an investor might be:
- Down-payment requirements
- Price to income ratio
- Price to rent ratio
- Gross rental yield
- Capitalisation rate
- Cash flow